Brooklyn Nets Kenny Atkinson
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

The Brooklyn Nets needed a win in the worst possible way. They held a lead for the vast majority of the game, but they faltered late.

  • Philadelphia 76ers 127 (14-8)
  • Brooklyn Nets 125 (8-13)
  • NBA, Final, Box Score
  • Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

After losing six of their last eight and dropping to 8-12 on the season, the Brooklyn Nets needed a win. For much of the game, their chances of snagging a signature victory looked likely. The Nets jumped out to an early lead on the backs of D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie. The backcourt tandem combined for 69 points and 13 assists.

The Nets led by as much as 20 at one point, but they failed to ever put the final nail in the coffin. The Sixers didn’t lay down in this one. Not by a long shot. But it seemed like every time the Sixers made a run, the Nets countered with a run of their own.

Unfortunately, the last run from Philly was the one that would put them over the top. The Nets let the Sixers get back into the game one final time towards the end, allowing them to cut the lead to two with fewer than two minutes to play.

There was a definite shift of momentum and the Sixers were able to secure their second lead of the game on a J.J. Redick three with just over a minute left. Joe Harris made sure to connect with a three of his own to give the Nets a two-point lead. But on the very next play, he fouled Embiid to allow the All-Star big to complete a three-point play.

After what appeared to be a Dinwiddie dagger, it was Jimmy Butler time. The superstar that was once rumored to be a potential fit in Brooklyn sunk a difficult three-pointer with 0.4 seconds left. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s defense was good, but Butler’s shot was better.

The Nets wasted a tremendous effort from their backcourt and a solid performance from Jarrett Allen against MVP-candidate Joel Embiid. The outspoken Embiid definitely got the better of Allen, but the emerging center held his own in their battle.

The Nets are losers of seven of their last nine and they are floundering without Caris LeVert. For a team with playoff aspirations at the start of the season, Brooklyn does not look like a team capable of sneaking into the postseason.

There is some serious soul searching for Kenny Atkinson and his team to do right now. There’s no time for moral victories in Brooklyn. This was a brutal loss for a team that believes they’re ready to hang with the big boys.

They’ll have two days off before welcoming the struggling, yet always dangerous Utah Jazz into Brooklyn on Wednesday.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.